Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Australian authorities arrested a woman for her alleged involvement in kidnappings and killings in Chile during the Pinochet regime from 1973 to 1990.
Adriana Rivas faces possible extradition to Chile after her Tuesday arrest. Authorities took her to a police station in Surrey Hills, a suburb of Melbourne, and she participated in a hearing in Sydney's Central Local Court by video conferencing.
Her arrest was "pursuant to a request from the Republic of Chile for her extradition" a spokesperson for Australia's attorney general, Christian Porter, said in a statement. "This individual is wanted to face prosecution in the Republic of Chile for aggravated kidnapping offences."
The judge adjourned her case until March 1.
Rivas was an intelligence officer in Chile during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, during which thousands of his Chilean opponents were kidnapped, tortured and slain. A lower-level employee at the notorious Simon Bolivar Barracks in Santiago, Chile, told Australian prosecutors that Rivas was involved in tortures and killings.
Rivas arrived in Australia in 1978 and worked as a nanny and house cleaner, and was detained by police when she returned to Chile for a visit in 2006. While out on bail she returned to Australia. She was charged in Chile on seven counts of aggravated kidnapping.
In a 2013 interview Rivas said she was innocent of the charges, but defended the torture of the Pinochet regime.
"They had to break the people. It has happened all over the world, not only in Chile," she said.
Thousands of expatriate Chileans in Australia, many of whom escaped the Pinochet regime, have encouraged Australian authorities to begin extradition proceedings against Rivas.
"We congratulate each other for this fact [the arrest], but we also feel sadness for families, children and grandchildren and for people who have lost their loved ones because they were killed by the armed forces and Chilean security," Adriana Navarro, a lawyer representing families of Pinochet's victims, said.
Navarro added that relatives in Australia have provided information to Chilean authorities about the tortures and killings for the past five years.
Rivas can give her consent for extradition to Chile, or use a variety of review procedures to remain in Australia as long as possible.
Democracy was restored to Chile in 1990. Pinochet died in 2006.